(Associated Press) – Adult welfare recipients who are suspected of substance abuse would be given drug tests under Republican-backed legislation headed to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.
The bills receiving final legislative approval Wednesday would start a suspicion-based drug-testing pilot program in at least three counties. The pilot would last for one year.
If recipients of cash assistance who are thought to be using illegal drugs refuse to be tested, they would lose benefits for at least six months. Recipients who test positive the first time would be offered treatment. Repeat offenders would be ineligible for welfare but could reapply if they later test negative.
The Republican-led Senate voted 26-10 along party lines to send the legislation to Snyder.
Republicans say people shouldn’t be able to spend public funds on drugs. Democrats say the bills target the poor and should have been amended to also require drug testing of business executives whose companies get tax incentives or other public aid.
Michigan has roughly 80,000 welfare recipients, 21,000 of them adults age 18 and older who could be subject to drug testing depending on which counties were selected for the pilot.